Roger Brown Residency in Social Justice, Writing and Sport
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Roger Brown Residency in Social Justice, Writing and Sport

(gentle music) – He was just, apparently, just the sweetest guy
growing up in Brooklyn, obviously grew up very poor. But just had the sweetest disposition, would do anything for anybody. And you know the sky was
just the limit for this guy. He and Connie Hawkins
were really looked upon as the two best high school
players in the country coming out in 1960. And then of course, you know, when the scandal erupts over
fixing games, and you know, Roger was never found
to have a fixed a game or even introduced
anybody who fixed a game. – Picture Mr. Brown, far from home, a young man in a racially segregated town during a period fraught
with racial tensions and great power differentials. It literally makes the heart
ache to consider how alone he must have felt, indeed,
how alone he must have been. His dreams of a college degree and a pro basketball career both dashed. – He was devastated because
he really wanted to come back to UD and play ball. – [Ted] Even though he did resurface and become a star again, he still lost most of what
were probably the best years. And more important, I think
he lost some of his soul. He lost some of his dignity. He lost some of that sweet disposition. – And he certainly passed
way too soon for all of us. But I never forgot him. And so he still lives in Dayton, and he still lives in our
hearts and in our minds. And now it’ll be even more visible to think about him in a positive way through this wonderful, wonderful project. – [Eric] Mr Roger Brown, one of the greatest basketball players ever to attend UD, kind
and gentle and thoughtful, still highly regarded
in the Dayton community 22 years after his death, has been invisible at
the University of Dayton. That is neither right nor just. So today, in the presence
of Roger Brown’s family as well as friends,
teammates, and contemporaries, and with an eye toward justice, we humbly yet proudly establish
the Roger Brown Residency in Social Justice, Writing, and Sport, intended to be a lasting
testament to Mr. Brown’s tenacity, excellence, grace, and commitment
to doing what is right. This is long overdue, and is intended to begin
to make things right with the family, friends,
and legacy of Roger Brown. – There seems to be a lot of sadness around his life about what happened, but this is a very triumphant moment. And I think hopefully
that we all can start to wipe away some of the tears that always seem to be
gushing around his life. – And now, they will be using
his example in a positive way. I really do have to think he’d be smiling, and I can tell you, there’s just a glow in
everybody’s eye right now. – This is really great, yeah. I can see him smiling now. (laughs) – Oh, I think he would be
extremely pleased and happy, and be beaming at the
possibility of what this does. Because it really goes
beyond just recognition. In a situation like this
where you honor an athlete but you do it in a positive way that’s going to add knowledge
and wisdom and understanding to the community and to students, but also address social concern. – This establishes a dialogue, not only in sports but
also in the community and throughout the society as a whole. – The lessons learned are what’s important and there’s probably no
better way to do that than through students that, you know, retain that information
and go on to share that on for many years. So it seems like it has
a more lasting impact. – [Bing] This exceeded
all of our expectations, an outstanding educational experience that’s going to last forever. – It’s 50 years in the making, from my father’s journey from Brooklyn to the university of Dayton and onto the Indiana Pacers
and hall of fame career. This is like the final step
in his hall of fame career. – It’s wonderful comeback story and it’s also a wonderful
lesson for students. That’s a gift that he has given us all. And I’m very proud to be here as the first Roger Brown
writer in the residence. (gentle music)

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